Who are the Queer vampires? And where did they come from? These questions, and others like them, may have crossed your mind as an LGBT youth fascinated by the lore of vampires. You might have even asked "are there any Queer vampires?" if you identify as cis-heterosexual, peaked by curiosity. The history to these questions, would tell you "Yes, there are Queer vampires!" And many there are.
How They Came to Be
When we ask ourselves how the birth of Queer vampyric creatures came to be, we must dive into the human psychology that askes what we see as taboo and how it reflects our values as a moral society and express these taboos in an effective way; creating an evoking expression that dashes norms and modes of binary thinking; turning into a safe but frightening expression of the devious morally spliced monster that we sometimes see in ourselves. In Jeffrey Cohen’s Monster Culture, he explains how desire and fear interact with our societal psychology birthing the Monster
“The monster is continually linked to forbidden practices, in order to normalize and enforce. The monster also attracts. The same creatures who terrify and interdict can evoke potent escapist fantasies; the linking of monstrosity with the forbidden makes the monster all the more appealing as a temporary egress from constraint…We distrust and loathe the monster at the same time we envy its freedom and perhaps its sublime despair”
In short, the queer vampire is an expressed medium of a non-binary desire that we, as a society, cannot display within ourselves despite the need, or the want to in a systemic and binary society. The Queer Vampire is, in a sense, a vicarious desire lived out through artistic medium.
Queer Vampires of 19th Century Literature
Victorian Sexuality and Gender Norm
When one typically thinks of the Victorian era, one quite often thinks of the stereotypical heterosexual middle class woman with the whale bone bodice, the commonest of thick dusted gowns, and a soft-spoken manner that is only to be heard when spoken to; as for the men, we think of the stern, emotionally detached, heterosexual male, whose only ambition is to build his own amount of wealth to afford a dowry, and marry off. Both of these assumptions are quite true, at least according to Holly Furneaux in her article “Victorian Sexualities”; but along with the conservative outlooks we also find that the Victorian Era was the period in which we defined the term Homosexuality and Heterosexuality. While the terms seem common amongst the language that defines one of the many aspects of the LGBT community of today, this was a major scientific breakthrough for the time being of its creation— essentially creating sexology, or the science of our sexuality.
Lord Byron and The Vampyre
Published in 1819, John Polidori was infamously known as the author of The Vampyre, arguably the first of many attributions to what is today's Dracula. What also is known is that Polidori base his work of his close friend and esteemed Romantic Poet Lord Byron; a sexy, sociological, smart man, who carried mystery and poise. Lord Byron, was a romantic, someone who had multiple affairs with many women, and to what we know now men. And as it turns out, was quite often involved with men. Thus John Polidori's language and tone throughout The Vampyre suggest this notion of bisexuality, the protagonist Aubrey having subtle attractions to Lord Ruthven (the Vampire of the story) and vice versa "Aubrey's eyes followed him in all his wanderings" or such phrases as "whetted his curiosity" could easily be interpreted as sexual tone.
Carmilla, The Vampire of Lesbianism
the story of Carmilla was written by J. Sheridan Le Fanu in 1897 just before the publishing of Bram Stoker's Dracula, was also the first to talk of homosexuality in tones of complete obviousness througo out the storyline. Carmilla, a Byronic Hero (a hero based off of the the likeliness of Lord Byron; sexy, seductive, and intelligent; but somewhat cunning and disliked) established her thematically lesbian undertones through her actions of only pertaining mainly female victims, were casually attacked by Carmilla biting onto their breasts. The story further develops into a love story between the protagonist Laura and Carmilla.
"Sometimes after an hour of apathy, my strange and beautiful companion would take my hand and hold it with a fond pressure, renewed again and again; blushing softly, gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardour of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet overpowering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips travelled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, 'You are mine, you shall be mine, and you and I are one for ever'."
is just some of the language that depicts lesbianism in Carmilla
Modern Gay Vampires
The Vampire Diaries
Joshua Rosza: A major recurring character in the series The Vampire Diaries: The Originals, who is first turned into a vampire on his college trip to New Orleans. he originally has a hard time adjusting to this new lifestyle as he is confined to only existing in the night as he is a nightwalker. Josh begins to immediately enjoy this new lifestyle after his friend Davina gifts him a Daylight ring (an amulet that protects him from sunlight) this is when he meets a man by the name of Aiden (a werewolf) and they instantly fall in love. the tug on your heartstrings moment is when Aiden is killed at the end of the season, leaving Joshua by himself.
Other LGBT characters; there are a plethora of LGBT characters on The Vampire Diaries The Originals who are not vampires but are directly related to vampires. such as Aiden (aforementioned), Keelin, Lucas Parker, and Eddie. these characters add a great deal to adjacent storylines within the series.
Another industry that picked up of the queer vampire fad was the gay adult film industry. Gayracula (1983) is the first product of this trend, as it depicts Dracula who is searching L.A. Gay Bars for... sustenance. IMDb notes that Dracula has grown tired of women and is hunting for "the hunkiest victims to ever succumb to lust" set with spooky castle scenes.